The Hagel Nomination: Integrity Test In The U.S. Senate

Chuck HagelI was able to watch the Senate’s questioning of Secretary of Defense designate Chuck Hagel on C-Span on and off, but clearly “on” enough to recognize a disaster unfolding. Whatever one might be tempted to say about Hillary Clinton’s performance during a day of bobbing and weaving about Benghazi under sometimes hostile questioning before both House and Senate committees, no one can question Clinton’s intelligence, knowledge and preparation. In contrast, no one who watched Hagel can honestly feel confident about his possession any of those qualities. He was uniformly awful, to the point of embarrassment. I found myself feeling sorry for him. He was unprepared. He was vague…he was contradictory; he did not seem to have a grasp on much of anything the job entailed. Several times, Democratic Senators rescued him by correcting his wording or reminding him of what he should have said. In short, he appeared incompetent.

Immediately, various news organizations and reporters told us that it didn’t matter, that Hagel “had the votes.”  If this is true, then the confirmation hearings are a sham, and our elected officials no longer care about trivial matters like the fate of the nation and national defense, but only political maneuvering and point-scoring. Why doesn’t it matter? If a highly touted applicant for an important corporate job botches the job interview, he doesn’t get the job. Are major management jobs in the U.S. Government so much less challenging and important that a lesser standard should adhere? Continue reading

No Winners, Only Losers in the Debt Ceiling Train Wreck

I object to “a pox on all their houses” assessments on principle, because it encourages the lack of accountability. If everyone is at fault, nobody is at fault, or at least nobody will be willing to accept responsibility as long as he or she or they can point fingers at someone else. Reading all of the clichéd “Winners and Losers” columns in the media this morning as the debt ceiling crisis winds down, however, convinces me that there were no winners, only losers, in this sorry spectacle. In the latter group I include the writers of the “Winners and Losers” pieces, which are all just spin, obvious and biased attempts to extract a writer’s favorites from the train wreck using the rhetorical Jaws of Life.

They are all losers, all of them, together with the United States of America. The perfect storm of cowardly, irresponsible, reckless, stupid and arrogant leadership weakened the recovery, weakened the economy, weakened foreign faith in American investments, weakened American prestige, split the Republican Party, revealed the Democratic Party as hell-bent on chasing the European-style nanny state even as their model is crumbling abroad, exposed the Tea Party as a unmannerly mess of deluded doctrinaire ideologues with no grasp of political or economic realities, and most disastrously of all, showed the American President to be hopelessly, pathetically, frighteningly weak, devoid of leadership skills and leaderly instincts. Continue reading

“An Army of Fake Personas”? I DO Trust the Military, I DO Trust the Military…

Why does the Air Force want to recruit these people?

Raw Story reports that a United States Central Command spokesman recently confirmed that the US Air Force had solicited private sector vendors for something called “persona management software.” The technology would allow an individual to “command” virtual armies of fake, digital personas across multiple social media portals.

The “personas” would have detailed, fictionalized backgrounds to make them undetectable as fake to outside observers, and there would be sophisticated identity protection to support the deception,  preventing suspicious readers from uncovering the real person behind the account. The program would also fool geolocating services, so these “personas” could be virtually inserted anywhere in the world, providing ostensibly live commentary on real events, even while the operator was not present.

Hmmmm. Continue reading